At one point, the only reason people sewed a patch onto a garment was to cover up a hole or tear in the fabric, but that is no longer the case. Especially for teenagers and young people, patches can make jeans and other clothing look trendy and chic, so learning how to sew on a patch is important if you have family members who love this look. Learning how to sew on a patch by hand isn’t the only way it will work.
The bottom line is, whether you learn how to sew on a patch with a sewing machine or just a needle and thread, the process is much easier than it seems. Still, this is an important skill that all sewing enthusiasts should have because you never know when it will come in handy.
4 Reasons to Sew on a Patch
So why should you learn how to sew on a patch? There are many reasons for this, and they include:
- Repairing a garment
- Keeping a garment in circulation longer
- Sewing patches that look like badges or logos on blazers or uniforms
- Using decorative patches to dress up a garment
In other words, you don’t just learn how to sew on a patch with a sewing machine or by hand just because you want to repair something. It’s also done to be creative and to have fun with an article of clothing, as well as to keep a garment around much longer, which is very practical when you’ve got kids in your home.
Now that you know why it is so important to learn how to sew on a patch by hand or with a machine, let’s look at a few methods that can help you get started. Whether you’re sewing by hand or with a machine, you can put the patch into the correct position first by using some bonding glue or even a few pins. That way, it will stay in place as you sew and won’t be crooked when you’re finished. This is especially important when you’re sewing on a patch to a uniform of some type.
How to Sew on a Patch by Hand
Sewing on a patch by hand is not as difficult as it sounds, although you do have to be meticulous about each of the steps. Nevertheless, once you do it a few times, the task gets a lot easier. In fact, pretty soon you’ll be sewing on patches like you’ve been doing it for years, and here are the steps you’ll need to make sure it’s done correctly:
- First, make sure the area is neat and clean. If there is a tear or hole in the fabric, straighten it up a bit and make sure any stray hems are either trimmed or tacked down real well. The neater the area looks, the neater the patch will look when you’re done.
- Try being creative. If you decide to patch with some type of shape, try cutting out a square or a heart so that it doesn’t look like all of the other patches out there. Make sure you use your creativity so that the patch job looks like no one else’s.
- Consider the fabric for your patch. Remember that it doesn’t have to be the same type of fabric as the garment itself. Try finding a patch that works with the garment fabric and not against it, whether you decide to let it blend in with the garment or contrast with it.
- If you’re using a lightweight fabric, it will need either some backing or a double layer of the fabric. After all, you’re probably using the patch to repair a garment, so it has to be thick. If the fabric is thick on its own, such as denim, you won’t need any backing.
- Get creative with the stitching around the patch. You don’t have to use a straight stitch every time you sew on a patch. You can use decorative embroidery stitches in different designs if you like. Blanket stitches, small running stitches, and whip stitches are perfect for patches.
Hand-Sewn Patches You Can Choose
There are two main types of hand-sewn patches, usually identified as Type A and Type B. With a Type A patch, you’ll be sewing the patch onto the right side of the fabric to cover up the area that needs to be repaired. Because of this, and because the patch will be larger than the hole you’re trying to cover up, the patch can be in any shape you like. If you buy a patch, you’ll notice they’re available in tons of different motifs, shapes, and designs, so you can be as unique as you like with this step.
Type B is also called reverse applique patchwork. With this method, you’ll be placing the patch underneath the hole (on the wrong side of the garment), but you’ll be stitching on the right side of the garment. Here are a few steps to get this done:
- Lay the patch underneath the cut-out area (the hole or tear).
- When you stitch, make sure you stitch the right side of the garment even though the patch is going to be on the wrong side.
- Try using decorative embroidery thread for an aesthetically pleasing look.
With reverse applique patchwork, the patch itself still serves its purpose even though it’s technically on the wrong side of the garment. To sew the patch, you can use a backstitch, blanket stitch, or running stitch. You can use others as well, so it might be good for you to experiment a little and decide which stitch you like best.
Keep in mind that both Type A and Type B patches can become more decorative if you use contrast fabrics, decorative thread, and even things such as buttons, bows, and sequins. To be honest, there are lots of ways you can get creative when sewing on a patch, so go ahead and use this as a way to express yourself creatively. Learning how to sew on a patch by hand is a great way to have some fun with an otherwise mundane task.
How to Sew on a Patch with a Sewing Machine
If you want to know how to sew on a patch with a sewing machine, it is a little different than doing this by hand, but the basics are still the same. To be honest, patches sewn on with a machine usually last longer and are more secure in the first place. If you have a tear or hole that is fairly large or severe, sewing on a patch using a sewing machine is usually the smartest option.
To begin with, you’ll want to perform some of the same tasks as you did with a hand-sewn patch, including neatening up the area, taking into consideration the type of fabric you’ll be using, making sure thinner fabrics have backing added to them, and placing the patch in the correct position. If you use a zigzag stitch, which is standard on most sewing machines, and adjust the length and width of the stitch so that it is very close, you’ll get exceptional results when sewing on your patch.
If you fuse the patch to the fabric, then follow up with some stitches, it makes for a perfect solution and will create a very neat and even look. Learning how to sew on a patch by using a machine also gives you a very clean and professional look. If this is what you’re looking for in a knee or elbow patch, it’s much easier to achieve when you use a sewing machine as opposed to sewing by hand. If you’re not sure exactly what to do, here are some suggestions to make it easier for you:
- Start by trimming around the tear or hole, then cut the area into a neat square shape. Make sure the edges are no more than 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch long, then turn those edges around the square so they lay flat on the wrong side of the garment.
- When the edges are on the wrong side of the garment, go ahead and iron them so they are neat. If you like, you can also leave the edges on the right side of the garment because that’s what’s trendy and chic these days.
- To make your patch, use either contrasting or matching fabric and cut it so that it is 1/2 inch larger than the hole. If you like, you can fuse the patch using a bonding web first, but this is not necessary. You can also double the fabric so the patch is extra-strong.
- Take the patch and place it underneath the cut hole in your garment. Make sure the patch is underneath the hole but right side up when it’s showing through the hole.
- After you use pins or basting stitches to secure the patch, you are ready to use some type of machine stitch. Straight and zigzag stitches work best, and once you sew all around the outside of the patch, feel free to reinforce it with stitches that go across the hole.
Feel free to be creative when patching a garment. Embroidery stitches in various colors and patches made out of felt are great ideas when you’re trying to be decorative. In fact, one of the advantages of using felt is that it doesn’t fray, which makes it perfect for both patches and for your decorative and fancy stitches.
5 Tips to Make Sewing on Patches a Little Easier
If you don’t know how to sew on a patch and the task seems difficult, don’t let it get to you. The truth is, once you get started and learn a few basics, sewing on patches is not that complicated. To make it even easier, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- When sewing by hand, always double up on the thread because this will cause the patch to be sewn on securely, much like it would be if you did it with a sewing machine.
- Don’t use standard polyester or cotton thread when sewing by hand. Instead, use an embroidery thread or a thread made for fabrics such as denim.
- Every few stitches, you should check the position of the patch to make sure it’s not crooked or uneven. Patches can move around quite a bit when you’re sewing them onto a garment. This is especially true when you use straight pins to keep the patch on as you’re sewing.
- When you’re done stitching, double- or triple-knot the thread to make the patch even more secure.
- If you don’t feel comfortable about how secure the job is, simply stitch over the patch again so that it’s sewn on a second time.
If you never learned how to sew on a patch with a sewing machine, not to worry because determining how to sew on a patch by hand is really not that difficult. Although many people use a simple backstitch when sewing on a patch, you can use just about any stitch you like. The main thing to remember is to make sure it’s a stitch that makes the patch secure so you won’t have to worry about it coming off at a later date.
Video: How to Sew on a Patch by Machine
Learning how to sew on a patch is not that difficult, even though it may take you some practice to get really good at it. Taking your time the first few times definitely helps, but it also helps to know that if you mess up, you can use your trusty seam ripper and start all over again. Whether you want to know how to sew on a patch with a sewing machine or by hand, some of the steps are the same and, therefore, it’s good to start there.
Even better, it’s good to know that even if you aren’t a sewing enthusiast, learning how to sew on a patch by hand is easier to learn than you think. Take your time and learn as many tips as possible, and most importantly, practice as much as you can.